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Understanding load banks
Home Reference & Education
By: Harvey Mcewan Email Article
Word Count: 461 Digg it | it | Google it | StumbleUpon it


Load bank testing is commonly carried out in industry as a method of preventive maintenance. Whether they’re annual tests or weekly ones, load banks can be crucial in alerting officials about the capabilities of appliances like generators and UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply) systems to cope when mains electricity fails.

So where exactly is load bank testing applicable and what types of load banks are available?

Load bank testing applications

By simulating an electrical load, load banks can test an array of power sources. For example, load bank testing is essential in the maintenance of diesel generators, and can also be used to test out new engines and equipment before they are installed in a factory. Additionally, load banks are used in testing UPS systems, and are instrumental in establishing the battery life of cells within a UPS and helping personnel determine when they should be replaced.

However, load banks aren’t only important for industrial purposes. They’re also used by hospitals, the military and airports to test equipment to ensure that there is no disruption to services if mains power fails. In this way, they’re valued by public services and institutions, and not just commercial enterprises.

Types of load banks

There are three different types of load banks. The first and most common type is the resistive load bank. In this type of load bank an equal load is applied to the generator as to the prime mover (the mechanism that converts energy into motion). This type of generator can simulate real life loads like heating and lighting and may be available in a range of types, including AC and DC configurations.

The second type is the reactive load bank, which may be inductive or capacitive. And the third type is the resistive/reactive load bank, which combines both previous types.

If you’re not sure what kind of load bank you need, consider renting from an established company for access to a range of load banks and knowledge on how to use them. Load bank hire companies will be able to tell you which kind of load banks you need and advise you on how regularly to carry out preventative maintenance of your equipment.

There are many reasons to opt for load bank hire. Benefits include the knowledge of experienced load bank testers, as well as the availability of a range of equipment. If your tests don’t need to be done on a daily or weekly basis, it may also be more cost effective to hire a load bank rather than buy one, and you’ll also be free of the responsibility of maintaining the load banks themselves.

Harvey McEwan is knowledgeable in the field of load bank hire.

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